'Azzun, Beit Furik, Eliyahu Crossing, Huwwara, Shomron Crossing, Za'tara (Tapuah)
10:00: We entered the Palestinian territories through the Eliyahu Gate.
We passed Azzoun and noted that the 2 entrances were open, and there were no soldiers or military vehicles in sight. The town of Funduk was quiet; it was business as usual. Jit junction was empty and quiet. Nadim reminisced about how terrible that junction had been in the past. We saw concrete barriers at all the bus stops along the way – 2 barriers in front of the shelter with a narrow passage between them. Security against being run-over while waiting for a bus, we're sure. By Burin, across from the entrance to Yitzhar, a military police jeep was parked. More security.
At Huwwara checkpoint the traffic was moving quickly and smoothly into Nablus. But on the side coming from Nablus, 2 military jeeps were parked at the side of the road. There were several soldiers checking cars as they came out. Three taxis were off to the side before the exit, and soldiers seemed to be checking them. We stood about 20 meters from the checkpoint in order to see what was happening. Two soldiers came to us and asked who we were and what we were doing. We explained in a few short sentences. They only warned us not to take photos. We weren't, anyhow. While we were there a tourist bus came from Nablus; it went through without any problem.
The checkpoint at Beit Furiq was empty and open, as it has been for a long time. But we noticed words in English painted on the wall by the empty watchtower. "FROM BERLIN TO PALESTINE TEARING DOWN APARTHEID WALL"
We noticed that there were posters pasted to all the bus stop barriers, and in other places, so we stopped to read one. In large letters (in Hebrew) it said, "WE CHOOSE SOVEREIGNTY". In small letters it says, "Vote for representatives who support our sovereignty on Yehuda and Shomron." A war of words.
At Za'atra (Tapuach junction), there seemed to be a lot of action. We saw Border Police and their jeeps, regular police and a police car, and soldiers and military vehicles. It was only when we heard the news later about the Palestinian teen who had been shot for throwing "boulders (?)" that we understood that we had passed there very soon after the incident had taken place. We left the territories by the Shomron Gate.